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Friday, Dec 28, 2007, 7:27 pm

Mike Huckabee: Christian Fascism Finds Its Man

By Jarrett Dapier

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Mike Huckabee creeps me out. There's something more, something unsettling, behind the straight-talking, bass-guitar-jamming, warm-and-fuzzy Christian teddy bear act Huckabee kicks out for voters and the media. I'm thinking Lindbergh in Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. Something feels unhinged here.

I don't know, maybe it's some of his beliefs, like the one about how homosexuality and necrophilia are, ehhhhh, about equal weight on the scale of human aberration, or maybe it's his classic extremist/anti-choice line about how abortion = slavery. And then of course there are his statements about isolating individuals with AIDS from the general public. See, ol' Huck says AIDS should be viewed as a public health issue, not a political issue, and that the most effective way to combat the spread of the disease is through isolation of afflicted individuals from the general public. OK, that sounds clever and very logical, minister, but let's think for a minute about the engineering of this "public health policy" program you propose. First, everyone in America must be tested by the government, yes? Otherwise, how would we know who's sick and who's not? Then, what, the positives go through Door A and the negatives through Door B? Haven't we heard of something like this "isolation" you propose before?

I've always wondered why any truly religious person would want to drag their faith through the fetid cesspool of American politics. How can we believe the faith of someone who would do that to something they claim to hold so dear? But then, I don't think Jesus had Dominionists, Christian Reconstructionists and Pat Robertson in mind when he delivered the Sermon On the Mount. No, this is about the use of Christianity for power, radicals mocking an often beautiful faith; the road to power in America today is packed with the dirt of false piety.

There's no getting around the fact that Huckabee's ascendancy is owed to the radicals of the far Christian Right. He's their guy, their golden boy. Check out the implicit message on his website's homepage: "Faith. Family. Freedom." (By the way, shouldn't he finish the alliteration he started and add on "Fence"? He's come out in favor of a total Mexico-U.S. border fence). And in case any Christian Fundies in the crowd aren't quite sure what he means by "family," in a commercial out today in Iowa, after name-dropping "the Creator" about ten times, he substitutes "Life" for "Faith," thus making his slogan "Family. Life. Freedom." It's the rhetorical equivalent of hiring a plane to sky-write, "Mike Huckabee Is Extremely Anti-Abortion" over the winter-blasted fields of Iowa.

Chris Hedges, one of the most intelligent writers on the subject of the Christian Right working today, offers his take on the matter at Truthdig:

Huckabee represents a new and potent force in American politics, and the neocons and corporate elite, who once viewed the yahoos of the Christian right as the useful idiots, are now confronted with the fact that they themselves are the ones who have been taken for a ride. Members of the Christian right, recruited into the Republican Party and manipulated to vote against their own interests around the issues of abortion and family values, are in rebellion. They are taking the party into new, uncharted territory. And they presage, especially with looming economic turmoil, the rise of a mass movement that could demolish what is left of American democracy and set the stage for a Christian fascism

And here comes the "2" to Hedges' "1-2":

George Bush is a happy stooge of his corporate handlers. He blithely enriches the oligarchy, defends a war that is the worst foreign policy blunder in American history and callously denies medical benefits to children. Huckabee is different. He has tapped into the rage and fury of the working class, dispossessed and abandoned by the mainstream Democrats and Republicans. And he refuses to make the ideology of the Christian right, with its dark contempt for democratic traditions and intolerance of nonbelievers, a handmaiden of the corporate establishment. This makes him a much more lethal and radical political force.


In his excellent book, American Fascists: The Christian Right And The War On America, Hedges describes the way Christian radicals in America are hijacking the language of freedom and rewriting American history and using both language and history in ways that implicitly advocate Christian theocracy and undermine democracy. So, when Huck uses the word "freedom" it doesn't mean the same thing Obama means when he uses it, though they sound like they're both speaking the same platitudes. To Huck, "freedom" is only a state achieved by people who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and who are therefore good and true. It has nothing to do with equal rights under secular law.

Our braindead mainstream press is smitten with this man, (as they were with W in 2000 let's not forget). But every time he cracks some wise-ass, clever little joke about how he's going to shoot anyone who doesn't vote for him or how Jesus was too smart to run for office, let's not forget how deadly grave the prospect of a Huckabee presidency is. Yes, jokes are good, ha ha, I like them too, but come on, haven't we learned where voting for folksy, fundamentalist Christians who claim a core of compassion and have close ties with the worst religious bigots on offer gets us?





Jarrett Dapier is a former assistant publisher at In These Times. Previous work for ITT includes interviews with playwright Christopher Shinn and Fugazi guitarist, Ian Mackaye. He currently works with teens at the Evanston Public Library where he runs a recycled drumming program and directs stage adaptations of young adult literature. He lives in Evanston, IL.

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